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Cape High alum McClanahan shines for Stone Crabs

Leads team by Miracle, 2-1

June 28, 2019
By CJ HADDAD (cjhaddad@breezenewspapers.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

It was a homecoming of sorts Thursday night at Hammond Stadium as Cape Coral High School alum Shane McClanahan, who was a 2018 1st round draft choice of the Tampa Bay Rays, took the mound as part of the Charlotte Stone Crabs against the Fort Myers Miracle.

McClanahan was sharp over seven innings of work, allowing only two hits and one earned run. The lefty struck out three and walked one, securing the win in a closely fought 2-1 contest, completing the Stone Crabs' three-game sweep of the Miracle.

Many were in attendance to support McClanahan, who came to Miracle games as a kid.

Article Photos

MICHAEL PISTELLA
mpistella@breezenewspapers.com

Charlotte Stone Crabs' pitcher and Cape Coral High School graduate Shane McClanahan
makes a pitch during Thursday's game at the CenturyLink Sports Complex. McClanahan picked up the win, his second in three starts with the Stone Crabs. To view more photos from the game, see the Cape Coral Breeze Facebook page.

Despite the hometown kid on the mound, there was a game to win, and the Miracle struck first.

Clean-up hitter and catcher Ryan Jeffers belted a solo home run to left field, his 10th of the season, off of McClanahan in the fourth inning to put Fort Myers on top 1-0.

That would be the only run the home team would be able to push across. The Miracle left two runners on in the bottom of the ninth with a chance to tie or win the game.

Fort Myers is now 3-7 in the second half of the season after securing its place in the Florida State League playoffs with the best record in the South Division -- going 39-27 in the first half.

The Miracle are defending FSL champions.

"Moving forward, we're going to be all right," said Miracle Head Coach Toby Gardenhire following the loss. "We've got to get the ball rolling on our side again, and I'm pretty confident we'll be able to do it. We've played some pretty tough baseball."

During this stretch, the Miracle haven't been getting blown out, but dropping close, well fought contests. Over the last 10 games the club has only been outscored by a margin of 39-31. Five of their seven losses have been by two runs or fewer.

Though his team was unable to come out victorious, Gardenhire was impressed by McClanahan.

"He was good. He was really good. He's got great stuff," Gardenhire said.

McClanahan was living in the upper-90s all night, even touching 99 on the gun when facing Miracle outfielder and top prospect, Trevor Larnach.

His breaking ball and change-up were also effective, though he did get help from his outfielders who tracked down some well-hit balls.

"We actually put good swings on him all night," said Gardenhire. "We hit a lot of balls really hard that got caught. They made a lot of really good defensive plays. But, that kid can really throw the ball."

The Miracle had a kid of their own on the bump last night who was also impressive.

Blayne Enlow, who has been excellent since his promotion to Fort Myers in May, made one mistake that proved to be the deciding factor.

Enlow worked 6.1 innings, surrendering two earned runs while striking out six and walking two in the loss.

"I felt pretty good," Enlow said. "Fastball was working, curveball was working -- slider was working really well."

The 20-year-old right-hander carries a 2.01 ERA and a 2-2 record in four starts for Fort Myers and is making a lot of bats miss. The 3rd round draft pick of the Twins in 2017 has fanned 25 batters in 31.1 innings of work with the Miracle, allowing just seven earned runs in that span.

"I've been mixing a lot more," Enlow said of what's he's done differently in a Miracle uniform. "In all reality, it's the same game everywhere you go. You just can't over think it and you've got to pitch to the best of your ability."

Enlow sits in the mid-90s with his fastball and features a slider with good biting action.

The Louisiana native isn't phased by the talent he's facing in the competitive FSL. There were six Top 100 prospects between the two teams in Thursday night's contest.

"You've got to play the game. You don't think about them as prospects. You just look at them as another hitter on the team, and I always think that I'm better. You've got to. If you don't, you're going to get hit."

That one mistake Enlow made came courtesy of MLB's No. 1 prospect, Wander Franco, who hit a two-run shot in the fifth to put the Stone Crabs on top for good. The 18-year-old switch hitting shortstop signed with Tampa Bay in July 2017. He hit .374 with 11 home runs and 57 RBI with Tampa's Rookie Advanced affiliate Princeton Rays last year.

Franco also made a fleet-of-foot unassisted double play late in the game to show that he's the real deal with the glove as well. Franco is 7-for-12 in three games with the Stone Crabs.

Recent call-up Derek Molina was impressive for Fort Myers in relief, as the 21-year-old right-hander threw two scoreless innings, including striking out the side after entering the game with two runners on and nobody out in the seventh.

Minor league baseball can be a rotating door of personnel, as players get called up to higher levels and new faces come from lower levels. That's all well and good for Gardenhire, who said that when players get called up, it's a sign of progress. Slugger Lewin Diaz was recently called up to Double-A Pensacola from the Miracle. He set a club record for homers in the Month of May with 10.

"Minor league baseball is like that," Gardenhire said. "That's what you expect and that's what you hope for is that you send guys up. If you don't send any guys up, then it's not going too well. I hope we keep sending more."

Next up, the Miracle start a three-game series with Bradenton over the weekend before heading to Clearwater. They will return home July 4-11.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj

 
 
 

 

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